This week continues our review of the 2021 legislative changes, continuing the discussion of the amendments in Senate Bill 630 to Chapter 720 of the Florida Statutes, the Florida Homeowners’ Association Act. These changes took effect July 1, 2021.
Notice to Owners
The previous version of Section 720.306(1)(g) of the Homeowners’ Association Act created confusion regarding meeting notices. Now, notices no longer have to be sent to the address on the property appraiser’s website and are sent to the owner’s the mailing address as found in the official records of the association.
Amendments Prohibiting or Regulating Rental Agreements
This is a significant change and one of those which raise some complicated legal questions as to retroactive application to existing HOA’s. Section 720.306(1)(h)1 the Homeowners’ Association Act now contains a similar provision as is found in Section 718.110(13) of the Condominium Act. In short, although slightly different in their approach, each statute now “grandfathers” certain rental rights of existing owners who vote against a rental amendment, or do not vote at all.
The new law, which applies to homeowners’ associations containing more than 15 parcels, provides that any governing document or amendment to a governing document that is enacted after July 1, 2021, which prohibits or regulates rental agreements, applies only to a parcel owner who acquires title to the parcel after the effective date of the governing document or amendment, or to a parcel owner who consents, individually or through a representative, to the governing document or amendment.
An association subject to the statute may amend its governing documents to prohibit or regulate rental agreements for a term of less than 6 months and may prohibit the rental of a parcel for more than three times in a calendar year, and such amendments, if properly adopted, shall apply to all parcel owners regardless of whether they vote or how they vote.
Section 720.306(9) of the Homeowners’ Association Act provides that election disputes, which previously had to be adjudicated before a state agency though arbitration, can also be heard by a court.
Transition of Homeowners’ Association Control
Section 720.307(1)(a) of the Homeowners’ Association Act has been amended to incorporate one of the standards for mandatory turnover of the association found in the Condominium Act. Under the new law, parcel owners other than the developer are entitled to elect at least a majority of the members of the board of directors within three months after 90 percent of the parcels in all phases of the community that will ultimately be operated by the homeowners’ association have been conveyed to members other than the developer.
Similar to the changes to the condominium and cooperative statutes previously covered, Section 720.311 of the Homeowners’ Association Act was amended to allow boards to remove discriminatory provisions in the governing documents.
In Part 3 of this series, published on August 15, 2021, the changes to the “Emergency Powers” section of the Condominium Act were discussed. That same changes were made to Section 720.316(1) of the Homeowners’ Association Act, which mirrors the Condominium Act.
This concludes our review of SB 630, the main community association bill adopted by the legislature during the 2021 session. In our next column we will begin review of the other bills approved by the legislature effecting community associations, starting with Senate Bill 56, which creates new and potentially problematic requirements for association collection notices.
Joseph Adams is a Board Certified Specialist in Condominium and Planned Development Law, and an Office Managing Shareholder with Becker & Poliakoff. Please send your community association legal questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Past editions of the Q&A may be viewed at floridacondohoalawblog.com.